Every first Wednesday of the month, get caught up with what’s on stage with our review round-up. And that vaguely hollow, clinking sound you hear at the end of each segment? That’s me tossing in my two cents. This month, we’ve got two shows that didn’t receive much Tony-nomination love but deserve a serious look…
The Cast of "The Lyons". Photo by Carol Rosegg.
Tony-nominee Linda Lavin returns to Broadway as one mother of a mother in Nicky Silver’s hilariously acidic family comedy.
“…directed with a pulsing comic rhythm by Mark Brokaw, [the play] draws laughs with the same reliability as, say, The Odd Couple. But with The Lyons, there’s often a gasp within the chuckle.” New York Times
“When you hear them delivered by pros like Dick Latessa and Linda Lavin, it’s comedy nirvana.” New York Post
“Nicky Silver’s caustically funny and emotionally satisfying family comedy is driven by a gem of a performance from Linda Lavin.” Hollywood Reporter
“…delightfully black comedy.” Entertainment Weekly
Mizer’s Two Cents: A victim of an unusually strong season for new plays, The Lyons would be tallying multiple nominations in any other year. See it, not just for Lavin’s justifiably acclaimed comedic master class (she gets laughs from single looks because her character work is so fully realized you can hear the joke she’s thinking in her head), but because the script is a fast-paced, zinger-laced ride that manages to find a bravely humane landing place without going soft. Theatre stalwart Dick Latessa provides delightfully caustic support as a dying patriarch with the mouth of a shock comedian. And Michael Esper, coiled up emotionally and physically, rises to Lavin’s level, slowly and rightfully taking center stage as the real lead of the play. One second act detour has been divisive for audiences (I found it a necessary and illuminating widening of the world) but there’s no question that when The Lyons hits its stride, it roars.